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Future Students

English Language Proficiency Exam for PhD Admissions

Applicants to the PhD in Human Centered Design & Engineering who are non-native English speakers are required to demonstrate English language proficiency.

If an exam score is required, the HCDE Department only accepts the ToEFLiBT, IELTS, and Duolingo exams.

Minimum score considered for admission to the HCDE PhD program:

  • TOEFLiBT: 92
  • IELTS: 7
  • Duolingo:120

This exam requirement is waived if the applicant holds a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution where all instruction is in English. Refer to Policy 3.2.1 for additional information. 

English Language Appeal Interview

As part of the application evaluation process, applicants will be required to complete an additional appeal interview, which they must pass to be admitted. Candidates who are seeking an appeal are not allowed to submit a request on their own behalf, instead the department will work with you to submit one. Applicants will need to have a good quality internet connection and microphone for the interview.

Applicants may test out of the appeal interview if they also submit the following scores or transcripts:

  • TOEFLiBT: 26 speaking score
  • IELTS: 7 speaking score
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom, where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus. (Note: A master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement).
  • Hold a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Juris Doctor (JD) from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.

Test scores must have been obtained within the last two years. This is a UW Graduate Admissions rule and is not flexible. Contact the HCDE academic advising office if official scores were submitted to UW prior to the last two years. 

It may take several weeks for TOEFL scores to show as being "received" by the University of Washington. After applying, periodically log-in to your application profile to check the status of the scores.

The TOEFL institutional code is 4854. If a department code is required, use 99. Applicants using IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365, or selecting "University of Washington - all campuses." An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.

Additional Conditions for Teaching Assistant (TA) Employment

International students should familiarize themselves with the Graduate School’s English requirements and teaching policies. HCDE PhD graduate students who are not native speakers of English must meet the criteria in Policy 5.2: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English to receive an employment offer as a TA. Policy 5.2 includes additional requirements beyond English language proficiency for admission to the HCDE PhD program.